Cross-town trip pays off with another Cranbourne double

Apr 13, 2018

The trip from Flemington to Cranbourne is often a nightmare on a Friday but the drive back across Melbourne is always sweet with a couple of winners in the Ellerton Zahra Racing float.

The stable took three runners down the Monash Freeway to Cranbourne but took the night’s training honours with a double with Oriental Gift and Pres de Toi.

Oriental Gift did a terrific job to get the money in the Cranbourne Hyundai Maiden Plate (1300m) with jockey Damian Thornton aboard.

Thornton rode a smart race on Oriental Gift, refusing to give away the advantage gained by barrier one. Thornton saved all possible ground before Oriental Gift completed his part of the operation by chasing down the leader in the straight.

Oriental Gift’s momentum carried him past the leader at the 50m, but she drew clear to score by 1 ¾ lengths.

“He’s a quirky horse,” Thornton said. “I just wanted to get him to settle.

“He was good tonight and on that, he can probably go on with it.”

Versatile rider Jamie Mott was aboard the second of trainer Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra’s Cranbourne winners when he piloted Pres de Toi to victory in the R & C Asphalt F&M Class 1 Handicap (1400m).

Pres de Toi was a winner of 2000m at Mornington last time in but she came to hand much quicker in her autumn three-year-old campaign with her second-up win.

Mott didn’t panic when the hefty filly was slow out of the barrier but let her travel kindly to the home turn before he pushed her out three-wide at the 300m.

Pres de Toi lengthened well in the straight before Mott was kind to her late as she posted her second win in nine starts by 1 ¼ lengths.

“About the 500m, the horse outside us actually bounced us off the rail a couple of times so she has done a good job to pick up and be so strong to the line,” Mott said.

“She’s a dead-stayer. She should just improve as she gets out over a mile or 2000m but will be a lot better over those trips.”

Congratulations to the owners of both Ellerton Zahra Racing winners at Cranbourne.